Looks like the polling data is in:
At the same time, it would not be unusual to find that support for the president’s probable call for more troops in Iraq — once the proposed policy shift is made public — will be higher than this baseline minimum. This assumption is based on the fact that the action will no longer be hypothetical, but will have the institutional weight of the presidency behind it after the Wednesday night speech. A surge will, in essence, have become the stated policy of the country. It is particularly likely that Republicans will increase their support for the policy after the president’s announcement.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Jan. 5-7, 2007, provides support for this possibility. The poll finds that only 12% opt for a troop increase using the traditional four-alternatives question, little changed from past polling. But the poll included a separate question that summarized a possible “surge” announcement, and found that 36% support the idea of such an increase, while 61% oppose it.
As with everything, polls do no matter as to whether a policy is right/correct/good, but it does reflect how easy it will be for the President to advance advance his new ‘plan.’ In short, it won’t be easy at all. The overall majority of the public has soured on this President, this war, and his handling of this war. Additionally, I would like to quibble with the phrasing of the poll question, which was:
Considering the President is calling for only an additional 20k troops, I would argue that is not a significant increase in troops (and so would John McCain and others). If the poll were to ask whether people would support an insignificant increase in troops purely for show, I am betting the results would be even worse for Bush.
In closing, I understand what is at stake in the region. I recognize how important it is for us to win this. I know that many people have given their lives, and regardless what happens, many more will. And I would love to support an effort that would have a realistic chance of success in the region. But I have learned over the past few years that this administration does not have what it takes to get the job done. There have been too many missed opportunities, too many mistakes, too much arrogance, too much cronyism, too little forethought, and too little advice heeded in the past four years for me to think that these clowns would get it right this time if we just throw a bunch more troops (that we do not really have) into the region. I just don’t see anything happening other than a show proposal of more of the same with a slight increase in troops, with the predictable outcome of more American bodybags and more opportunities blown.
*** Update ***
And Blair is not playing along, either.
What you fail to realize is that the surge is just a success that hasn’t occurred yet.
The Other Steve
But opposing the President on this would be akin to Treason. The Democrats must set aside their partisan differences and let Bush do what Bush wants to do.
Otherwise, they’ll be thought of as week on National Security.
And there you have the crux of it. If it were Eisenhower going on tv tomorrow to announce the plan, it would be different. It’s not. It’s …. well, you know.
Good post, John.
You call it a tactical screw up (to go with the others) that will result in the death of more soldiers.
Bush calls it a photo op.
I am also no longer certain the next “Masterpiece,” will include a “surge.” Since politics seem to be more important than actual strategy in this war I would not be surprised if The Deciderator went with some other plan (air strikes?) in order to catch the opposition off guard.
Heh, heh. Dumb sumbitches thought I was gonna send in more soldiers. ‘Stead I’m gonna send in some leprechauns!
Just wait (gulp)…for the reports of a dozen of US soliders killed in one day, instead of the 2-3 “trickle” we have now. More grunts….more targets….more bodybags….
And yeah, that is one of the most dishonest questions ever devised. It’s NOT significant (20K “troops” =’s only ~5000 actual infantry), and it’s in NO WAY temporary. Not a chance any of these numbers are reduced before Bush is out of office.
Once they’re in, they ain’t coming out.
I got a hold of the Presidents speech that he will be delivering tomorrow night. I’ll briefly summarize it for everyone.
Bush is going to step up to the microphone lift up his arm then extend his middle finger to the audience, America, and the rest of the world. Bush will then leave.
Now you don’t have to watch it…
I really feel like we’re turning a corner in Iraq.
It’s funny that John chose to focus on the word “significant.” I would have chosen the word “temporary.”
So do you see a downside, or is it all…
Sad that you have to say this part. Not that it’ll stop people from dismissing your argument for that reason or anything. You’re a lefty now. Lefties first have to prove they are manly and serious.
James F. Elliott
This “surge” is pure cover your ass politics at its finest (one might say “nadir”).
Lt. (soon to be plain ol’) Gen. David Petraeus, who is slated to take command of the forces in Iraq, had a hand in writing the Army’s new counterinsurgency manual, the playbook by which he’s supposed to fix this debacle. According to his own math, he needs roughly 120,000 combat troops just to secure Baghdad (a city of six million). He has some 70,000 combat troops in country (the other 60,000 are support personnel). A “surge” of 20,000 or so leaves him 30,000 shy of the number he needs to clear and hold one city.
The “force economy” moves necessary to provide the 20,000 or so soldiers will involve pulling units from Afghanistan, extending the tours of exhausted units with broken equipment, and accelerating the deployment of state-side units, two-thirds of which, according to the Army itself, are not fit for combat duty!
This surge is nothing but buck-passing politics, just enough troops to say we gave it the old college try. President BUsh and his administration deserve to be vilified by history and excoriated by the public. Preferably in reverse order.
I remember giving it the “Old College Try” a couple of times in college. Those were the classes I ended up repeating.
The only real question now is “What happens next?” When this ‘surge’ fails, what dumbshit plan does Mr. President plan on clamoring back to?
The Other Steve
Of course Blair isn’t playing along. Blair is going to be stepping down here in a few months. At least that’s what he said last year.
And if I recall correctly, they’re planning on pulling troops out completely by years end.
The Other Steve
I was thinking more like it was pissing in the ocean.
Even with an additional 20k, there will still be significantly less coalition troops in country than on the day dipshit positioned himself under the Mission Accomplished banner. What would 20k enable us to do that is totally precluded now?
So another poll question that would have been nice could have been something like “Is it important to you the president now articulate a plan for victory that is not simply renamed versions of past failed strategies?” My guess is we get more “they stand up, we stand down” and Operation Together Forward. Stay the course. Only with newer, fresher labels.
The Other Steve
The Surge will be followed by Operation Wave, then Operation Typhoon, and finally Operation Tsunami, each adding an addition 15,000 soldiers.
When this fails to work, we’ll implement Operation Overwhelming Force, adding an additional 5,000 troops, mostly composed of Pentagon desk jockeys and the kitchen help from Fort Meade.
The Other Steve
The Other Steve
We’ll make ’em fit! Six months in the desert does wonders for the figure.
This will help boost Iraqi morale by clearing out the overflowing morgues.
You mean like “A New Way Forward”?
What I wanna know is – why is everyone (anyone) referring to this as a “change in policy”? It’s not. It’s “stay the course” all over again. Bush has changed out Rumsfeld, Abizaid, and Casey, but he’s still the guy making the decisions, and this is exactly the same policy he had back in September when everyone was all ga-ga over his beginning to “listen” to other viewpoints.
According to the soliders I’ve heard on talk shows (Mr. Cole, is this true?), only 1 of 4 soliders are combat (infantry). The rest are support personnel.
So 20K “troops” are just ~5000 G.I.s.
I would have chosen “to help stabilize”. The question seems to give the benefit of the doubt that it will do just that. To anyone uninformed on the issue, the question then becomes “do you favor or oppose helping to stabilize the region”. Might as well ask if they favor or oppose bunnies sliding down rainbows. And yet most people still said no…
Traditionally, I would assume something like that figure is accurate, but if you remember, one of the big troop complaints from early on in the war was that troops were doing a number of jobs they were not trained to do or in the MOS to do. That led to some of the abuses at Abu Gharaib, as well as I beleive that Cindy Sheehan’s son was killed while filling a role outside his trained duty.
Regardless, your point is noted. I do not know if the proposed increase is 20k combat troops, or simply 20k warm bodies to serve as cannon fodder. Either way, it will make no difference, in my opinion.
The Other Andrew
What this reminds me of most is Bush’s response to the talk-radio right’s outrage at his stance on illegal immigration: he rode an ATV around the desert/near the border, promised an ineffective number of National Guard people, and acted like that should take care of everything.
Symbolism is this administration’s favorite weapon. They use high-profile moments of grandstanding to make themselves look good/look like they really care about what’s going on, go through the motions of responding to the situation, and then do their best to downplay anything that gets in the way of the illusion. It’s always those same three steps: photo-op, apathetic execution, minimalizing reality.
What we need is a troop ejaculation onto the smiling, eager face of Afghanistan, where we still have a chance for victory, not a slow dribble onto the pendulous, wrinkled breasts of the busted old hooker of Iraq.
Sorry for the imagery, but you know how I think.
maf54 will no doubt be upset to learn that the USS Eisenhower has left the area and headed over to Somalia.
[Insert joke about sea men where ever it makes you happiest.]
Welcome to my underwater vehicle. It’s long and hard and full of sea men.
Sorry, I forgot to attribute. That was, I believe, Dr. Evil.
I hear a lot of people say this, and yet I have to ask myself, “Why is it important for us to ‘win” this?”
That’s an honest question, and if you want to answer it, I’d be interested to hear your answer. Why do we need to win this? What does winning mean in the long run and how is winning going to solve whatever problem we claim exists?
The problem of terrorism, imho, has absolutely nothing to do with the war and never has. One of the reasons I’ve been opposed to the war since day one. That’s one of the reasons I never udnerstood the “we have to win this” point of view.
Winning — like in winning a war — to me is meaningless in fighting terrorism. You don’t “win” fights with people who want to either kill you or are willing to die to kill you in the process. The way you handle terrorism is entirely different than any attempt to win a war. As far as I can tell, you have to find concrete ways to stop them, and fighting wars doesn’t stop them. Worse, it gives them a playing field to operate on.
I think a lot of conservatives needs to re-examing their position on terrorism. Too many in the past dismissed ideas of police work as a better means to fight terrorism, and I partly agree with that, but using the army to get yourself into a position that you think you need to win a fight is nothing more than a rathole.
There’s nothing to win here. And until our politicians stop with that mentality, we’re always going to lose this kind of fight because too many people will die. When the terrorst doesn’t mind dying and even goes out of their way to die for their cause, why on earth would you get yourself involved in that kind of fight? It’s a losing proposition from the start.
I read somewhere that 8000 of the 20,000 would be combat troops– that seems to fit with John Cole’s “somewhere above the 1/4 number that would be optimal.”
James F. Elliot’s point is the key to all this. It must be shouted from the rooftops. THIS IS NOT A MILITARY PLAN. This is not a plan for victory, or to achieve a defensible stalemate, or to actually accomplish anything. It’s a political fig leaf.
President Bush doesn’t want to admit that he’s wrong; Sen. McCain wants to polish up the Maverick(TM) brand; Sen. Lieberman wants to support escalation because he supports every proposed use of the military regardless of the interests at stake. That’s what this is about.
Oh, and more American troops get to be targets, and for longer. So, that’s great, if you’re rooting for Osama bin Laden.
The troops are doing lots of jobs? That would come as news to this guy.
But remember, it’s John Kerry who insults the troops.
“I think a lot of conservatives needs to re-examing their position on terrorism.”
Ugh. Obviously should read: I think a lot of conservatives need to re-examine their position on terrorism.
I need to L2English
If we don’t fight them over there, we’ll fight them over here. Do you want thousands of angry Iraqis firing rocket-propelled grenades down the streets of Detroit? Shia death squads terrorizing the good people of Miami? Bathist militias kidnapping and torturing their way up and down Broadway? Moqtada Al-Sadr renaming a US Suburb in his name?
Osama Bin Laden hates us for our freedom and you just want to cut and run from our obligation to making Iraq a shining beacon of democracy. If we pull out now, like the Democrats Nixon and Ford pulled out of Vietnam, you’re just aiding and abetting the terrorists. Al-Qaeda is all over Iraq and if we leave there won’t just be another 9/11, there will be another thousand. A thousand nuclear 9/11s.
Pat RobertsonGod said so.
Well said, Andrei. However, you are forgetting the most important thing, which is the President’s legacy. He’s playing for history now, and doesn’t care how many die ensuring that he won’t be remembered as a “loser.”
I keep having to remind myself why impeachment is a bad idea.
Wow. That was some link, Steve.
You know, I’ll bet if we invaded Iran with our imaginary army, we would be greeted as liberators.
Yep. But it does make sense for dipshit to escalate. He’ll say it’s necessary for something this important we give it at least a last try. That’ll be the packaging. Appeal to the American sense of keep going at it until you get it done. Hard to argue against that. Of course, no definition of what is “done,” and no asking allowed if at this point we’d have the same end result with or without us.
Fits perfectly with the Decider’s #1 priority: Extend this thing for two more years to tag the next guy with the loss. Wouldn’t be good to start withdrawing before that time allowing the new guy to say the course was already set. Plus, if Dems in Congress withhold one additional dollar, they are the roadblocks to victory. By escalating, the spoiled brat gets two potential excuses for his brain-dead incompetent job performance.
I hate to quibble with you, but this is not a surge.
This is an *escalation* that Bush and McCain and Lieberman want. Let’s not pretend it’s anything else.
Upcoming Supreme Empress President for Life Pelosi sees nothing wrong with double impeachment. :P
If I were a cop, I could arrest this guy for possession of crack. It’d be THAT easy. Nobody writes this sober. It’s impossible.
Disagree. You simply are required to totally reject reality, sanity and common human decency.
Drugs may help the process along, but it is a deliberate mental decision that they make.
James F. Elliott
I do believe the 20K are dedicated combat troops, not troops plus support units.
Err… No. After the Halliburtonization of our armed forces, the kitchen help are all scuzzy civilians. So no help there.
I was a Marine back in 69-71, I asked my Marine son in law at the beginning of the Iraq war whether he wanted his chow and ammo brought by a brother Marine, who would risk his life to get SIL what he needed, or by a civilian contractor, who wouldn’t give a damn.
He answered instantly, a Marine. I agree with him completely.
Even assuming that, they need to eat, pee and sleep.
Which leaves you about 6333 troops per 8 hour period. Unless you want to piss on their readiness and make em do 12+ hour shifts.
I respectfully disagree. The WaPo has an article up where they continue to pimp “20K”. If it were 20K infantry, they’d need ~80K troops or so total. THAT number would turn heads.
I’ll just wait to see if a reporter can flesh out this discrepancy. I’m not holding my breath.
The Other Steve
The most common “surge” number I’ve heard is 5 combat brigades. A brigade is usually around 3500 to 4000. Combat brigades provide their own support in their mix.
Yeah, in Iraq they only do 8-hour days and get time and a half for overtime. LOL. Are you kidding me? 12 to 18 hour days are common. Plus you don’t get weekends off. Forget the foxholes (they don’t do those anymore), some atheists come to the Lord so they can officially have a little downtime.
And in a hostile combat environment, you piss on their readiness/effectiveness when you make them do that day in and day out. Which results in higher casualties.
I don’t see what the big deal is, considering we have 8 gazillion troops in Germany alone. /Darrell
You can bet your ass that if it was 20k trigger pullers going to Iraqnam with their REMFs, the total number is what woud be shouted from the rooftops.
Yeah, but they’re not all out on patrol the entire 12-18 hours every day. Besides the fact that there is a ton of work to do while not on patrol (maintenance, training, planning, etc.) and some troops are held in reserve for emergencies, to say nothing of the fact that a combat brigade has a large non-combat component of logistics, administrative, signals/intelligence, etc.
You’ll be lucky if 5000 of the 20,000 combat troops are on a mission at any given time. This is not even enough to control Sadr City, let alone Baghdad.
alberto the magnificent
It is no coincidence that the people who think the surge is a wonderful idea are the same people who thought that assaulting Iraq in the first place was a wonderful idea. How many chances are we going to give to these fools?
I don’t think that what happened at Abu Ghraib was an accident. Keep in mind that Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller was sent to AG to “Gitmoize” the place. That basically means torture of one sort or another. Some of the tales coming out of Gitmo are pretty bizarre, hookers brought in to torment prisoners sexually, wiping menstrual blood on them and so forth.
The people who designed these tortures had a fairly deep understanding of the Arab Muslim psyche and how to warp it to their own purposes.
I keep hearing that there are far worse videos and pictures from AG that haven’t yet been released to the public. I don’t know if that is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Being the people who want to leave Iraq are now in command, what do you plan to do about the 250,000 or so Iraqi sunnies who will be killed when we leave? I thought you guys where in favor of saving lives, not waisting them. Or is that American lives only?
You have the ball, what’s your plan?
You don’t really have much experience with the military command structure, do you?
The President is the Commander in Chief, that doesn’t change simply because Congress changes hands.
Since the last, Republican, Congress just recently passed an appropriations bill for the Iraq war, Congress essentially has no input into the strategy for the war until the next appropriations bill comes up.
As I showed in the other thread, we have spent approximately one million dollars for every Iraqi that has been killed, all five hundred thousand of them. One million dollars is very close to the total lifetime gross earnings of the average American, I posted the numbers in the other thread also.
How long do you think we can keep up borrowing money at that rate, simply to play Whack A Muj in Iraq?
My personal plan is either send in a truly massive number of troops, between seven hundred thousand and one million, which we do not have, or alternatively, do a quick phased withdrawal. The latter plan is what both the American people _and_ the Iraqi people seem to want if you look at the poll numbers.
The Other Steve
Right, because thus far we’ve been doing a bang up job of keeping the country safe.
You bleeding heart liberals are all alike. Whaaa! We gotta save the Shiites from Saddam. Whaaaa! Now we have to save the Sunnis from the Shiites.
You know, maybe if you weren’t running around telling others what to do, people could figure out these problems on their own.
Shorter Derek: I love killing brown people, but now I’ll be able to use their deaths as a way to score political points. Death to the ragheads! Screw the Mexicans too. I am a huge fucking prick.
“As with everything, polls do no matter as to whether a policy is right/correct/good, but it does reflect how easy it will be for the President to advance advance his new ‘plan.’”
Oh give me a break! Poll can always reflect whether policy is right and good because the people answering the questions are not policy wonks using wonk to frame the question. The public frames there answers based on memes and morals that are formed over a lifetime. If the poll question was “Should the President be allowed to continue killing children to forward a purely political objective in a lost war.” would that mean the 88% that reject the idea didn’t answer based on morals, they only answered based on policy?
Bwahahahah! Try again……
You give McCain too much credit. Back when he didn’t think Bush would add additional troops, McCain was all for an additional 20,000 troops.
Now that Bush is going that route, McCain says we will need more than 20,000.
McCain does not want a position that will actually be implemented becaue then he will be accountable. He needs a theoretical position that will never occur but which he can always claim will have succeeded if we just had the balls. Faced with the options of tacking left or right of Bush, is it any surprise he will always tack to the right? His position is designed solely for the argument “we would’ve won if we just listened to him and did more.”
Your Ass who doesn’t listen to us is running this war, so why are you asking us for a plan?